Euro Gijbels began with Leanri mandarins this week. It is the first year this Belgian company's Catalan production site has worked with this red-orange premium citrus variety. "Until the Orri comes on the market, it is, I think, the tastiest mandarin available," says John Gijbels.
The company will offer Leanri, a Murcott/Clementine hybrid, until March. "The citrus season's not been great so far. I barely had time to get the Clemenules to color. They stayed green for a very long time. Once they started turning a little orange, we already had to pick to meet demand. So, prices were below previous years' levels."
The climatic challenges also force John to sometimes find the best course of action. "With the relentless heat these days, all the different varieties finish so much faster. In December, I thought it was January already," he explains. "So, you have to juggle varieties to get through the season. I think I've bought as many as eight or nine varieties that follow each other through the months."
Currently, the focus is, however, partly on the premium Leanri mandarins, about which the trader is very optimistic. "I'm not sure how well it will be liked. We have yet to market them, so it will take some time to see how sales go. But, once people taste them, they will undoubtedly return. They look beautiful and have a high Brix level. Also, despite being slightly more difficult to peel than a Clemenule, I dare say it's an easy peeler too. They have all the qualities to succeed," John concludes.
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